Today I'm praising God and thanking him for the blessings in my life. So many exciting things have been taking place the past few weeks. 

I know this post is really long -- but there is so much to thank God for and this is a way for me to do this. I also have been out of touch with many of you -- so this is a good update on what has been going on in my life!

Recently, I went to Tecate, Mexico with one of the student ministries. We helped with various construction projects at a Nazarene seminary - I helped with painting some rooms. I loved getting to know a few of the students there and having conversations with them. One that especially stuck out to me was when we talked about our favorite Bible passages. My friend, Amanda, is very close with one of the family's that lives there and it was such a blessing to meet them. I felt like I was meeting a special part of her that I hadn't met before - I know she considers them family... they have a special place in her heart. When I saw Amanda and one of the little girls reunited, I couldn't help but think of the day I get to be reunited with Sharon. The little girl ran and jumped into Amanda's arms. I can't wait to run to Sharon and hold her in my arms again.

Last week at tutoring, thirteen kids came - the most so far! We didn't have enough tutors, which never happens! It is so amazing to see how quickly this ministry is growing. And it is great to see kids that are consistently coming every week... friendships between the tutors and students are already forming. We had enough kids to play new games so I taught them how to play "fire in the forest," which was a nice change from the usual game of hide and seek tag. One thing that has really stuck out to me this year though is how Karla's mom makes us delicious snacks every week. She brought quesadillas and rice last week. Her giving heart has really made an impact on me. The fact that she takes time out of her daily schedule to cook food for us is more than enough, but because of her financial situation, this gift she offers means so much more. Even though I have offered to reimburse her, she won't let me. She wants to do this for us and it is such a blessing. This allows me to use our budget for other things, such as paying for the field trip or buying new toys and school supplies for the kids.

I have also been attending church where we tutor and am going to be teaching Sunday school for a few weeks with Audrie there at the end of October and I am really looking forward to this. Another opportunity for me to use my passion for working with kids!

Another blessing in my life right now is my new job. I am helping in a kindergarten class on Mondays and a third grade class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a local elementary school. I cannot even begin to describe how much I LOVE this job. I am continually in gratitude to God for showing me what my calling in life is. Whenever I am working with kids, I am filled with inexpressible joy. I truly hope everyone will get to experience that feeling in their life at some point - knowing they are doing what they are meant to do, feeling that sense of fulfillment and joy. I am learning so much about teaching as I'm working in these classrooms. I love that the teachers trust me enough to help lead lessons (sometimes on my own!), grade papers, and work with the kids. I have been working one on one with students who are struggling and I am learning what they truly need is just someone to encourage them and believe in them. When you expect them to do well, they usually do. Most people just assume they aren't going to do the problem right or will tell them, "Yes, this is hard, but just try anyway." That automatically puts it in the students mind that they are going to fail. Instead, I am telling them that yes, you can do it. I show them how to break the problems down into simpler parts and then encourage them throughout the process. It takes patience, but it is SO worth it. I show them one example and then just encourage them throughout the others, or I ask them questions to help them solve the problem. We need teachers who have high expectations for students - who believe that their students are capable learners. We need to see potential in
every student. Each one may have a different learning style, but that doesn't make them stupid. Seeing these students have a huge smile on their face as they get 100% on the problems on their own, to me, is a priceless moment. I love getting to high five them at the end and say good job. One girl even came up to me at the end of class one day saying thank you for helping me today. One teacher I work with also started to be more encouraging with her students after she saw what I have been doing is working - it was really cool to watch. I also LOVE forming friendships with these students. I get to go to their recess and love hanging out with them and taking the time to get to know them. It is so cute when they come up to me and give me hugs. I already have so many stories from this job!

Jane, the founder of IAA, is in Kenya right now. I sent letters to Sharon and Richard with her and am excited to get responses. I also sent pictures to all of the kids with little notes. Jane sent me updated pictures of Sharon this morning and it made my day. Her fingers are fully healed now which is an answered prayer. She also sent me pictures of the wall that is being built around the compound and it looks great! My family donated money for a section of the wall and asked for the name "Redeemer" for it and I am looking forward to the day I get to see this in person.

My sister is flying out to San Diego tomorrow and I can't wait to see her. We are going to Disneyland for a day and I'm looking forward to getting to spend time with her and just have a fun, relaxing weekend!

I could list so many more things to be thankful for. GOD IS GOOD.


1 Chronicles 16:9
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.



Psalm 9:11
Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.


Psalm 72:18
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.

"We'll sing an anthem of the highest praise
We'll sound an anthem of Your glorious name"
 


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